5 Reasons to LOVE Working With a Real Estate Agent

Love Real Estate | MA Blog

Thinking of buying and selling? Here are 5 reasons to LOVE working with a real estate agent.
1. Experience – I’m educated and experienced with the entire sales process.
2. Negotiations – I can act as a “buffer” in negotiations with all parties throughout the entire transaction.
3. Pricing – I can help you understand today’s real estate values when setting the price of a listing or an offer to purchase.
4. Contracts – I help with all disclosures and paperwork necessary in today’s heavily regulates environment.
5. Understanding of Current Market Conditions – I can simply and effectively explain today’s real estate headlines and decipher what they mean for you.

Hiring a real estate professional, like myself, to guide you through the process of buying a home or selling your house can be one of the best decisions you make! Give me a call today!

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Home sales fall 20 percent – biggest drop in 8 years – in Southern California

MA Blog | Home Sales 2019

Rising mortgage rates and economic uncertainty contributed to an already slowing housing market in December, causing Southern California home sales to tumble 20.3 percent from a year ago, new data show.

That’s the biggest year-over-year sales drop in eight years, real estate data firm CoreLogic reported Wednesday, Jan. 30.

With one-fifth fewer homes changing hands, December home prices barely budged, increasing by the smallest margin since the housing recovery began in 2012.

“It’s too soon to tell, but December was a bit of a yellow flag that maybe housing is slowing down,” said Ralph McLaughlin, CoreLogic’s deputy chief economist.

Area agents and home sellers say they noted a shift in market psychology as early as last summer, following 3 ½ years of a red-hot seller’s market.

Now, agents see increased listings, rampant price reductions and say homes are taking longer to sell.

“It gets frustrating for (home sellers). It’s like you’re having a party and no one shows up,” said Noel Palmieri, a Century 21 agent based in the San Gabriel Valley. “We’re not getting the showings like we were. Things aren’t flying off the shelf the way they were.”

In all, Southern California homeowners sold 15,781 houses, townhomes and condos last month, about a third fewer than the December average of 23,445 homes, CoreLogic figures show.

The sales drop reflects a variety of factors, said Andrew LePage, CoreLogic’s analyst.

“Mortgage rates hit a 2018 high in November, affecting December closings, and stock-market volatility created an additional headwind in high-end markets,” he said. “Meanwhile, some would-be buyers remain priced out or unwilling to buy amid concerns that prices have overshot a sustainable level.”

The median price of a Southern California home – or the price at the midpoint of all sales – was $515,000, just $5,500 higher than the year before.

It was the smallest year-over-year price gain since March 2012, reflecting in part a shift to fewer high-end homes selling, LePage said.

Zillow reported days on the market for Los Angeles, Orange, Riverside and San Bernardino counties stretched to an average of 78 days in December, up from 72 a year earlier. Zillow reported listing inventory up 23 percent in the year ending in December.

Buyers can afford to be more finicky now that the seller’s market appears to be over, said Charlotte Davis, an agent with Move Home Realty in Murrieta. But more wannabe buyers today are failing to qualify and fail to get prequalification letters from lenders — a must for prospective buyers until last year.

“The buyers were coming prepared (last year),” said Davis. “Now we have buyers who are coming who are not prepared. They’re kind of dreaming, but they don’t have everything in order.”

Agents say they are warning their clients not to expect buyers showing up in droves as in the past.

It took 80 days before Century 21 agent Palmieri got an offer for one house she was selling in the city of San Gabriel. It finally sold for $130,000 below its original list price 3 ½ months after it went on the market.

In April, Palmieri sold a condo in Monrovia for $620,000, or $35,000 above its $585,000 asking price. By August, she had trouble selling a similar unit in the same complex for $575,000.

“It was tough,” she said.

CoreLogic has forecast that home prices will stay in positive territory this year. But McLaughlin said he’s waiting to see how the market fares in the first three months before predicting the slowdown will continue through the spring, the peak selling season for housing.

Steve Thomas, author of Orange County-based Reports On Housing, was more pessimistic.

“It’s not going to be the robust spring market everybody was accustomed to from 2012 to 2018,” he said.

Home price gains were well below average throughout the six-county region included in CoreLogic’s December report, ranging from a 1.6 percent increase in Orange County to a 4.1 percent gain in Riverside County. Gains averaged from 6.1 percent to 7.3 percent during the previous 11 months. Here’s a breakdown of median prices and sales numbers by county for December:

  • Los Angeles: Median price: $581,500, up 2 percent; sales: 5,291, down 20 percent.
  • Orange: Median price: $708,500, up 1.6 percent; sales: 2,260, down 26 percent.
  • Riverside: Median price: $380,000, up 4.1 percent; sales: 2,938, down 14.6 percent.
  • San Bernardino: Median price: $329,750, up 2.1 percent; sales: 1,992, down 21.5 percent.
  • San Diego: Median price: $550,000, up 1.9 percent; sales: 2,642, down 22.2 percent.
  • Ventura: Median price: $575,000, up 2.1 percent; sales: 658, down 13.5 percent.


Originally published here.

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Top Orange County Things to Do in February

Feb Event Cal Image

Captivating theater and music festivals, figure skating championships, cocktail competitions and lots more…check out our list of 20+ top Orange County things to do this February.

Surf City USA Marathon & Half Marathon
Feb. 1-3. Run on Pacific Coast Highway past the famous Huntington Beach Pier and wind through the legendary surfing beaches of Southern California in the Surf City USA Marathon. Retro surf bands will entertain along the way as you make your way to the finish line party, which includes a Sand Bar. Finishers receive medals. See website for races and registration details. 21100 Pacific Coast Hwy., Huntington Beach, 888.422.0786. runsurfcity.com

Lunar New Year at Outlets at San Clemente
Feb. 2. Celebrate the year of the pig with epic dragon and lion dances, martial art demos, traditional Chinese music and over 50 performers at The Outlets at San Clemente. The Lunar New Year celebration features interactive activities to enjoy while you shop. 1-2 p.m. Free. Outlets at San Clemente, Oak Tree Court, 101 West Avenida Vista Hermosa, San Clemente, 949.535.2323. outletsatsanclemente.com

Bonsai Show & Workshop
Feb. 2-3. Sherman Library & Gardens and Orange Empire Bonsai Society present a bonsai exhibition that includes the Winter Silhouette Bonsai along with a variety of others available for sale. Join in on an exclusive two-hour workshop to learn the basics of initial tree designing, wiring, and repotting of a Juniperous Prostrata. Pre-registration required. Call for pricing. Show Sa-Su 10:30 a.m.-4 p.m.; workshop Sa 11 a.m. Sherman Library & Gardens, 2647 E. Coast Hwy., Corona del Mar, 949.673.2261. slgardens.org

Bash on the Beach
Feb. 4. Orange County’s top bartenders take their shot at being chosen the “best OC craft bartender” at the second annual craft cocktail competition hosted by Huntington Beach’s Pacific Hideaway. Bartenders will showcase their best Aperol and Cynar cocktails and put to the test with a surprise liquor in the final round. 2018’s reigning champion and lead bartender at Pacific Hideaway, Casey Lions, will be among this year’s judges. Come and watch the action while enjoying food, cocktails and live music. 5-9 p.m. Free. Pacific Hideaway, 500 Pacific Coast Hwy., Huntington Beach, 714.965.4448. pacifichideawayhb.com

Shanghai Nights at Queen Mary celebrates the Chinese New Year with acrobatic artistry.

Chinese New Year: Shanghai Nights
Feb. 5. Celebrate the year of the pig aboard the majestic Queen Mary with traditional Chinese cuisine and entertainment, including Chinese martial arts, acrobatic artistry, and traditional music and dance. Tickets include dinner and entertainment. 6-10 p.m. $99+, $59.99 children ages 4-11. The Queen Mary, 1126 Queens Hwy., Long Beach, 877.342.0742. queenmary.com

Chef Battle Orange County
Feb. 6. The inaugural Chef Battle Orange County Tournament Series features a one-hour competition to name Orange County’s best chef, who will advance to the West Coast regional chef battle. Admission includes live entertainment, food samples, voting ballots, plus two sponsored drink tickets. Cash bar available. 21+. 6 p.m. $40-$80. Envy Lounge, 4647 MacArthur Blvd., Newport Beach. Tickets

Laguna Beach Music Festival 
Feb. 6-10. Enjoy a week-long festival dedicated to artistic excellence and innovation, featuring internationally acclaimed classical and contemporary musicians and artists. See website for complete schedule. Laguna Playhouse, 606 Laguna Canyon Road, Laguna Beach, 949.497.2787. lagunaplayhouse.com

ISU Four Continents Figure Skating Championship
Feb. 7-10. See top athletes from the Americas, Asia, Africa and Oceania competing in singles, pairs and ice dancing. See website for competition schedule and categories. Th 12:30 p.m., 5:30 p.m.; F 11:45 a.m., 3 p.m., 7 p.m.; Su 1 p.m., 6 p.m. $25+. Parking $20-25. Honda Center, 2695 E. Katella Ave., Anaheim, 714.704.2500. hondacenter.com

UVSA Tet Festival
Feb. 8-10. Celebrate the Lunar New Year at the 38th annual UVSA Tet Festival. Themed “Stories of our Heritage,” the event features more than 150 exhibitors, delicious ethnic foods, cultural displays, live entertainment, and carnival rides and attractions. F 4-10 p.m.; Sa 11 a.m.-10 p.m.; Su 11 a.m.-9 p.m. $6 GA, $9 parking. OC Fair & Event Center, 88 Fair Drive, Costa Mesa, 714.388.6711. tetfestival.org

One Love Cali Reggae Fest 2019
Feb. 8-10. Enjoy performances from some of the biggest names in reggae, including headliners Rebelution, Stick Figure (Friday), Slightly Stoopid, Dirty Heads (Saturday) and Subline with Rome (Sunday). Over 50 other artists also perform, including Iration, Fortunate Youth and Pepper. See website for complete schedule and lineup. $85+. The Queen Mary, 1126 Queens Hwy., Long Beach, 877.342.0738. onelovecalifest.com

Lizzie, The Musical
Opens Feb. 9. Enjoy the regional premier of punk-rock opera Lizzie, The Musical, to kick off Chance Theater’s 21s anniversary season. The musical explores the bloody unsolved mystery of Lizzie Borden, who was accused of brutally killing her father and stepmother in 1892, then acquitted by a jury of her peers. See website for show times. $35-$49. 5522 E. La Palma Ave., Anaheim, 888.455.4212. chancetheater.com

Rotary-CARE Car Show
Feb. 9. See an expansive display of more than 400 antique vehicles, including classic cars and trucks, and a popular New-Car Row showcasing some of the latest car models to hit the market. Enjoy local vendors, entertainment and food at this family- and pet- friendly event. 7:30 a.m.-2 p.m. $15-$20. San Juan Capistrano Community Center, Sports Park, 25925 Camino del Avion, San Juan Capistrano, 949.547.9081. sjcrotary.org

Spring Exhibitions at Irvine Fine Arts Center
Opens Feb. 9. The Irvine Fine Arts Center opens two spring exhibitions, one exploring the human condition through animal tableaus, and the other showcasing nature. The concurrently running exhibitions will kick off with an opening reception for the public. Sa 4-6 p.m. Free. Heritage Community Park, 14321 Yale Ave., Irvine, 949.724.6880. cityofirvine.org

Tour de Napa: A Tasting of the Valley’s Finest
Feb. 9. Sample 100 different wines from Napa Valley’s finest wineries while enjoying live music, light bites, and vintage cars at the Crevier Classic Cars museum. Participants include Cakebread, Louis Martini, and Rombauer. Wines purchased at the event are available for a 10 percent discount. 4:30-7 p.m. $100. Crevier Classic Cars, 365 Clinton St., Costa Mesa. hitimewine.net

KISS: End of The Road World Tour
Feb. 12. See the rock legends on their epic final tour ever, celebrating their storied 45-year career. Expect their larger-than-life performances and iconic age-old hits. 7:30 p.m. $36+. Parking $20-$25. Honda Center, 2695 E. Katella Ave., Anaheim, 714.704.2500. hondacenter.com

Panic! At The Disco
Feb. 14. Grammy-nominated band Panic! At The Disco brings their North American tour to Honda Center, playing hits from their critically acclaimed fifth album, Death of A Bachelor. Opening performances by Two Feet and Betty Who. 7 p.m. $57+. Parking $20-$25. Honda Center, 2695 E. Katella Ave., Anaheim, 714.704.2500. hondacenter.com

Red Hot Singles Party 
Feb. 14. Red Bar and Lounge is throwing a Valentine’s Day singles party complete with a local DJ, perfectly crafted cocktails, delicious bar bites, and the perfect ambiance to mingle with singles or meet up with friends. 8 p.m.-2 a.m. $10. Hotel Irvine, Red Bar & Lounge, 17900 Jamboree Road, Irvine, 949.225.6757. hotelirvine.com

Kid’s Pet Parade
Feb. 16. Bring your favorite pets to play and compete for titles such as cutest, most unusual and most obedient. A special judges award will give the opportunity to be in the Swallows Day Parade. All pets must be leashed, haltered or caged. For children ages 5-12. 10 a.m.-1 p.m. $5 entry fee. Los Rios Park, 31747 Los Rios St., San Juan Capistrano, 949.493.1976. swallowsparade.com

ScotsFestival & International Highland Games at Queen Mary

ScotsFestival & International Highland Games XXVI
Feb. 16-17. Celebrate the annual games with professional and amateur competitions in darts, piping, drumming, massed bands, Highland dancing and Highland athletics, hosted by the North American Pro Atheletes. Daily festivities include border collie sheep-herding, firing demonstrations and historic reenactments. Whiskey and Scotch tasting sessions with aged malt experts are available for adult festival goers (additional cost). 9 a.m.-6 p.m. $25 GA, $12 ages 4-11. The Queen Mary, 1126 Queens Hwy., Long Beach, 877.342.0738. queenmary.com

James and the Giant Peach
Opens Feb. 17. See the popular stage adaptation of Roald Dahl’s beloved book, James and the Giant Peach, featuring music by the Tony and Academy Award-winning songwriting team behind La La Land, Dear Evan Hansen and Dogfight. See website for showtimes. $24-$30. 5522 E. La Palma Ave., Anaheim, 888.455.4212. chancetheater.com

Paws Fur Pink Run
Feb. 17. Run, walk or wag your way to a cure with your four-legged family members at the annual Paws Fur Pink Run. Additional activities include a FURever Yours Expo with yoga in the park and a PAWsitively Pink costume contest. 7:30 a.m. $15-$45. Irvine Regional Park, 1 Irvine Park Road, Orange. pawsfurpink.com

Julliard String Quartet
Feb. 21. Hear the new first violinist with Julliard String Quartet, Areta Zhulia, make her West Coast debut in a performance presented by Musco Center for the Arts. The Julliard String Quartet returns to the campus to showcase their fresh new sound. 7:30 p.m. $25-$45. Chapman University, 415 N. Glassell St., Orange, 844.626.8726. muscocenter.org

Originally published here. Edited by Laura Okey.

Photos: Surf City Marathon courtesy Motiv Running. Chinese New Year: Shanghai Nights courtesy Wushu Shaolin Entertainment. ScotsFestival & International Highland Games courtesy Queen Mary. 

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5 Health-Boosting Enhancements for Your Home

MA Blog

If home is where the heart is, imagine how much better you could feel by ensuring your home is as healthy as possible. Just like with maintaining our bodies’ well-being, we can control what comes into and what is used within our homes to help our families achieve a healthy lifestyle. In the spirit of new beginnings, follow these five achievable resolutions that can make your home healthier this year.

1. Cleanse Your Kitchen

Considered the soul of the home, the kitchen is the room where families often come together. As such, it is important to make it as healthy as possible. Beyond purchasing a juice cleanser and stocking your pantry with healthy snacks, there are many other ways to create a more nourishing kitchen.

Start by targeting your tap water. Nearly 77 million people in the U.S. were served by community water systems with violations as recently as 2015, according to a study by the Natural Resources Defense Council published in 2017. By filtering your tap water, you can better prevent your body from disease, improve your skin and boost circulation. Review and compare faucet water filters that reduce pollutants like lead and toxic chemicals and moved toward a healthier hydration.

2. Bring Fitness In

Have extra space in your home and not sure how to use it? Grab some workout equipment and turn it into your personal gym. Whether you’re purchasing weights, a yoga mat or an elliptical machine, having a dedicated fitness area in the home can help you carve out time for workouts while offering the convenience of not having to leave your house (and also eliminate a handful of excuses). Physical activity can help lower the risk of contracting chronic illness like cardiovascular disease, and more immediately helps increase energy, sleep quality and overall happiness.

3. Purify Your Air

It has long been common knowledge that getting fresh air is extremely important to your health. It enhances digestion and lowers blood pressure, strengthens immune systems and increases overall happiness. There’s no doubt that daily exposure to fresh air is necessary. While it may be harder to leave windows open and be active outside in colder months, there are many ways to still guarantee you’re getting fresh air within your home.

Keeping living houseplants is one of the easiest ways to purify air, and the right plants can even control bacteria and germs in your home. Plus, it adds some decoration and color to your home’s interior. If you struggle to keep indoor plants alive, alternative options that have become popular over the past few years include essential oils, a humidifier and replacing candles with solely soy candles to guarantee you are breathing in high quality air.

4. Green Landscaping

While breathing purified air inside the home is important, make sure the air directly outside your home is as fresh as possible by avoiding pesticides when you’re doing yardwork. During the summer when we open windows, contaminants like dust, pollen and mold spores can easily make their way into the home from chemicals we use to keep the yard looking nice. As prolonged exposure to these toxins can lead to major health risks down the line – like chronic respiratory disease, heart disease and lung cancer – keeping outdoor air uncontaminated is one of the most important steps you can take.

5. Smart Cleaning

Cleaning can be one of the most effective ways to ensure you are living in a healthy home. However, using common household cleaners that contain toxins and chemicals can be more harmful for your health than beneficial. The American Lung Association warns against too much contact products that include volatile organic compounds, such as aerosol spray products, furniture and floor polish and air fresheners, which can contribute to respiratory problems, headaches and allergic reactions. Read cleaning product labels before buying and reduce your interaction with potentially harmful chemicals like bleach and ammonia as much as possible.

Originally published here. 

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6 Tax Breaks for Homeowners

6 Tax Breaks | MA Blog

Whether you’re gearing up to file your taxes this year, researching what’s ahead for next year or simply contemplating the benefits to buying a house in the future, there’s a lot to consider.

Under the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, which takes effect for tax filings for the 2018 calendar year, standard deduction increases will likely mean far fewer Americans will need to itemize their returns to receive the maximum amount of money back. As many as 27 million fewer taxpayers may need to itemize their taxes, according to an estimate from the Tax Policy Center.

Of course, that still leaves 19 million taxpayers who will benefit from itemized deductions. If you currently own a home, are considering purchasing one or have made changes to your mortgage, it’s important to know how your tax return may be affected.

Here’s a breakdown of tax breaks available to homeowners who itemize.

Mortgage Interest

A major benefit of homeownership is that you can deduct your mortgage interest on your taxes.

There are monetary limits to the total amount of debt, of course: Interest paid throughout the year is deductible on your taxes for mortgages up to $1 million for a loan issued prior to Dec. 14, 2017, and up to $750,000 for any loans issued after that date. The limits count as your total housing-related debt, including the mortgage on your home, a mortgage for a second home or home equity loan or line of credit (which come with additional limitations outlined below).

By the end of January, you should receive a 1098 form from your mortgage servicer. With the total interest you paid throughout the year printed on the form, you can use the 1098 as your guide for the mortgage interest deduction process.

In the same way it contributes to your total mortgage debt, the interest on a refinanced mortgage can also be deductible, following the debt limitations depending on when it was issued.

However, if homeowners are looking to refinance an existing mortgage soon, they may want to consider the choice carefully. The Federal Reserve has steadily increased interest rates throughout 2018 and is expected to do so at least a couple more times in 2019, according to John Pataky, executive vice president and chief consumer and commercial banking executive at TIAA Bank based in Jacksonville, Florida.

As a result, the share of refinances that banks close on may shrink going forward. Pataky says he typically sees 75 percent of mortgage lending at TIAA Bank taken up by new purchases, and the remaining 25 percent is refinances. Rising interest rates, combined with the loss of the grandfathered deduction amount, make refinancing now or in the near future less attractive for many. Pataky predicts 2019 is “going to be about the purchase.”

Home Equity Line of Credit Interest

In line with your mortgage interest, the interest on a home equity loan or home equity line of credit can also be deducted when you file your taxes.

Following the reform for 2018 taxes, if you borrow against the equity in your home, the interest deduction is subject to the same $750,000 limit for total mortgage debt and only applies when the money borrowed goes toward the home itself. You won’t be able to deduct the interest for a HELOC that bought you a boat, for example, but the interest on a HELOC that went toward finishing your basement or renovating the bathrooms is deductible.

State and Local Property Taxes

Deducting state and local property taxes on your federal tax return has long been another primary financial benefit to owning a home. But the new rules may lessen the appeal of that perk for some homeowners, says John Karaffa, a certified public accountant based in Richmond, Virginia, founder and president of ProSport CPA and author of “Touchdown Finance: Personal Finance Tips From the Pros.”

From 2018 onward, the total deduction for your combined state and local income, sales and property taxes is capped at $10,000. While the majority of homeowners won’t be affected because their property taxes are below the limit, Karaffa notes a much larger impact will be felt in states with high property taxes, such as California, New York and New Jersey.

“My gut tells me there’s going to be migration,” Karaffa says. “It (already) got harder to sell a home in New Jersey all of a sudden.”

Rental Income

It’s becoming increasingly common for homeowners to harness the earning potential of their property by renting out space to tenants or tourists. Rentership in the U.S. is near a 50-year high, according to the U.S. Census Bureau, with 35.6 percent of the population renting rather than owning a home as of the third quarter of 2018. A large share of potential renters can make becoming a landlord attractive. Whether you have an English basement you rent to a tenant or a guest house to market on Airbnb, you’re required to report the additional income you receive on your taxes, explains Thomas Bayles, senior vice president of Mortgage Capital Partners in Los Angeles.

The benefit, however, comes from being able to deduct the cost of repairs and improvements made to that rental space.

“Let’s say you only made $5,000 on rental income but you spent $30,000 repairing (the rental space) that year,” Bayles says. “You can take that $30,000 deduction on your tax return, so that will reduce your taxable income dollar for dollar, which is huge. For someone making $100,000 on paper, it’ll look like you made $70,000, so your taxes are reduced.”

If you own commercial or residential property as an investment rather than living there yourself, repairs to these properties are also deductible, but tax laws are separate from those for homeowners.

Home Office Expenses

Working from home is another increasingly popular way homeowners are maximizing their space. If you work exclusively from home, you may be able to deduct costs for the space on your itemized tax return.

However, the requirements for the home office deduction change for 2018 filings. For 2018 taxes, deductions are limited to self-employed workers. Regardless of the year you’re filing, your home office can’t be in a guest bedroom or other space used for a dual purpose, and it must be used regularly.

But strict requirements shouldn’t deter you from filing for a home office deduction if you do, in fact, use your home office within the guidelines.

Capital Gains From a Home Sale

There are certainly tax benefits to owning a home, but selling your house, in most cases, gives the kind of tax break few people expect or realize. The capital gains exclusion rule allows home sellers to keep the profit from a home sale without paying taxes on it.

Bayles notes the requirements for the rule: “If you’ve lived in the property as your primary residence two years in the last five years … you can make $250,000 profit as a single person, tax-free, or $500,000 as a married couple.”

The majority of home sales fall under these stipulations, which means most home sellers are able to profit from the sale of their home without having to report those earnings to the IRS.

Of course, most people who sell their house take the profits to purchase their next home. Bayles says roughly three-quarters of his clients buy their next house with profits from the last one. The rest often use the extra funds to pay off debt or add to their retirement savings.

“(The equity is) a pretty powerful tool when done right,” he says.

Originally published here. 

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JUST LISTED! 27237 Via Capri, San Juan Capistrano 92675

Prime location with golf course and historic San Juan Mission views.  This home has been fully upgraded and shows like a model.  Open floor plan with cathedral ceilings.  Large master bedroom with walk out sunning patio area.  Two additional large bedrooms with a beautiful remodeled full bathroom.  Private loft area with spiral staircase.  The backyard patio and side yard are professionally landscaped.  Direct access to oversized garage with large overhead storage.  San Juan Hills golf club is just around the corner.  Association pool and spa are located in close proximity.  Resort style living in the hills of San Juan …. You are going to love this home!

$739,000 – 3 Bed, 2 Full Bath, Large Loft area, 1,692 Sq Ft, -2 Car Attached Garage

001_Front 002_Family Room 003_Family Room 004_Family Room 005_Family Room 006_Stairs to Loft 007_Loft Living Media 008_Loft Retreat 009_Dining 010_Dining 011_Kitchen Breakfast 012_Kitchen Breakfast 013_Master Bedroom 014_Master Bedroom 015_Master Bedroom 016_Master Patio Retreat 017_Master Bathroom 018_Master Bathroom 019_Hallway Cabinetry 020_2nd Bedroom 021_2nd Bathroom 022_3rd Bedroom 023_Golf Course View 024_Back of Home 025_Patio Retreat 026_Patio Retreat 027_Patio Retreat

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Top Renovations To Complete Before You Sell Your House


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5 Reasons To Sell This Winter!

SC Homes Blog | 5 Reasons to Sell

Here are five reasons listing your home for sale this winter makes sense.

1. Demand Is Strong

The latest Buyer Traffic Report from the National Association of Realtors (NAR) shows that buyer demand remains strong throughout the vast majority of the country. These buyers are ready, willing and able to purchase… and are in the market right now! More often than not, multiple buyers are competing with each other to buy a home.

Take advantage of the buyer activity currently in the market.

2. There Is Less Competition Now

Housing inventory is still under the 6-month supply that is needed for a normal housing market. This means that, in the majority of the country, there are not enough homes for sale to satisfy the number of buyers in the market. This is good news for homeowners who have gained equity as their home values have increased. However, additional inventory could be coming to the market soon.

Historically, the average number of years a homeowner stayed in their home was six but has hovered between nine and ten years since 2011. There is a pent-up desire for many homeowners to move, as they were unable to sell over the last few years because of a negative equity situation. As home values continue to appreciate, more and more homeowners will be given the freedom to move.

The choices buyers have will continue to increase. Don’t wait until this other inventory comes to market before you decide to sell.

3. The Process Will Be Quicker

Today’s competitive environment has forced buyers to do all they can to stand out from the crowd, including getting pre-approved for their mortgage financing. This makes the entire selling process much faster and much simpler as buyers know exactly what they can afford before home shopping. According to Ellie Mae’s latest Origination Insights Report, the time to close a loan has dropped to 46 days.

4. There Will Never Be a Better Time to Move Up

If your next move will be into a premium or luxury home, now is the time to move up! The inventory of homes for sale at these higher price ranges has forced these markets into a buyer’s market. This means that if you are planning on selling a starter or trade-up home, your home will sell quickly, AND you’ll be able to find a premium home to call your own!

Prices are projected to appreciate by 4.8% over the next year according to CoreLogic. If you are moving to a higher-priced home, it will wind up costing you more in raw dollars (both in down payment and mortgage payment) if you wait.

5. It’s Time to Move on With Your Life

Look at the reason you decided to sell in the first place and determine whether it is worth waiting. Is money more important than being with family? Is money more important than your health? Is money more important than having the freedom to go on with your life the way you think you should?

Only you know the answers to the questions above. You have the power to take control of the situation by putting your home on the market. Perhaps the time has come for you and your family to move on and start living the life you desire.

That is what is truly important.

Originally published here.

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2019 Real Estate Forecast: What Home Buyers, Sellers And Investors Can Expect

SC Homes Blog | MA

There’s no doubt about it: the 2018 housing market has seen its ups and downs.

The year started with sky-high home prices, historically low mortgage rates and a definitive upper hand for sellers. In recent months though, home price growth has faltered, rates have risen to their highest point in nearly eight years, and favor has started to shift from seller to buyer.

Will these trends continue? Will housing experience the same wild ride in the new year? Here’s what experts predict will happen in 2019 real estate market:

Mortgage rates will continue rising.

“Despite steady climbing for the past two years, mortgage rates remain lower than they were during most of the recession and below average for the type of strong economic growth we’ve been experiencing. That will change in 2019, as the 30-year, fixed rate mortgage reaches 5.8% — territory not seen since the dark days of 2008 when rates were racing downward in response to the housing crisis.” — Aaron Terrazas, director of economic research for Zillow

Millennials will keep buying homes — despite those rising rates.

“The housing market in 2019 will be characterized by continued rising mortgage rates and surging millennial demand. Rising rates, by making housing less affordable, will likely deter certain potential homebuyers from the market. On the other hand, the largest cohort of millennials will be turning 29 next year, entering peak household formation and home-buying age, and contributing to the increase in first-time buyer demand.” — Odeta Kushi, senior economist for First American

“Millennials will continue to make up the largest segment of buyers next year, accounting for 45% of mortgages, compared to 17% of Boomers, and 37% of Gen Xers. While first-time buyers will struggle next year, older Millennial move-up buyers will have more options in the mid-to upper-tier price point and will make up the majority of Millennials who close in 2019. Looking forward, 2020 is expected to be the peak Millennial home buying year with the largest cohort of millennials turning 30 years old. Millennials are also likely to make up the largest share of home buyers for the next decade as their housing needs adjust over time.” — Danielle Hale, chief economist for Realtor.com

Home buying power will decrease, but that could be a good thing.

“Most homebuyers budget a monthly payment. As rates rise, a fixed monthly payment translates into less borrowing capacity and buying power is down about 10% since the same time last year. As there are less buyers at each price point, the appropriate market response is a slowdown in sales and an easing in price momentum.”— Tendayi Kapfidze, chief economist for LendingTree

Overall home sales will drop.

“As we look toward 2019, we are anticipating home sales to decline around 2%. We’re expecting it to be another slightly slower year as buyers continue to wrangle with higher mortgage rates after contending with several years of rapid price growth.” — Ruben Gonzalez, chief economist at Keller Williams

Inventory troubles will ease — not too much, though.

“The wave of first-time home buyer demand will be met by somewhat higher inventory levels than in 2018. However, while the days of multiple offers and bidding wars may be history in some markets where inventory is increasing, inventory will likely still remain tight nationally through 2019.” — Kushi

“In the majority of markets, the number of homes being put on the market or newly constructed has increased slightly, while the pace of sales has slowed slightly, which has helped stop the inventory decline. But the inventory increases or slowing price increases necessary for a more widespread sales gain are not forecasted to happen in 2019. While the situation is not getting worse for buyers, it’s also not improving notably in the majority of markets.”— Hale


Home price growth will continue to slow.

“Right now, for 2019, we believe home price appreciation will likely slow to near 3%. This is based on the assumption that the recent pattern of increasing inventory levels will be sustained in the upcoming year.”— Gonzalez

Buyers will see less competition, but that might not help first-timers.

“Buyers who are able to stay in the market will find less competition as more buyers are priced out but feel an increased sense of urgency to close before it gets even more expensive. Their largest struggle next year will be reconciling wants, needs and budget versus the heavy competition of 2018. Although the number of homes for sale is increasing, which is an improvement for buyers, the majority of new inventory is focused in the mid- to higher-end price tier, not entry-level.”— Danielle Hale, Realtor.com

National rents will rise, but apartment construction could ease renters’ pains.

“As higher rates limit the number of homes that potential buyers can afford, some would-be buyers will be too financially stretched to buy and will continue renting. As a result, recent (and very slight) drops in rent will reverse and turn positive again. The shift will be muted, however, by continued steady investment in apartment construction, which will prevent rent growth from shooting too far above income growth.” — Terrazas

NYC rent hikes will continue — thanks to Amazon.

“Overall, I think the beginning of 2019 will be relatively flat, with price increases in Q3, Q4 and into 2020. The period between the old 421A and the beginning of affordable New York was a window of time where there wasn’t a tremendous amount of rental development. During that time it was difficult to build rental developments due to the escalating land and construction costs, no tax incentives, etc., creating a shortage of new product. Today, not only have some regulations changed, but the economy is doing well, unemployment rates are down, a lot of jobs are being created here in New York – not only by Amazon but everything that comes along with Amazon and all of the corporations looking to be close proximity to their headquarters. When we see the economy doing well, we can expect rental prices to increase.” — Andrew Barrocas, CEO of MNS

Individual and institutional investors will battle it out.

“Well-funded institutional buyers have tremendous advertising budgets and their spend makes it impossible for the average real estate investor to compete. It takes a serious financial investment to fund a marketing campaign that accurately targets and identifies acquisition opportunities. That alone gives institutional investors an instant advantage. Additionally, interest rates are increasing, which not only impacts buyers who cannot afford to move, but also individual investors looking to borrow money to buy and hold rental properties. Their cost to borrow increases while inventory decreases and competition grows. This type of combination middle-market is one individual investors do not want to see.” — Brian Spitz, founder of Big State Home Buyers

Commercial property managers will hop on the shared space bandwagon — or bring in top amenities to make up for it.

“As co-working continues to be a disruptor in commercial real estate, the largest traditional landlords have opened their own flexible and co-working options to compete, such as Sage Realty’s Swivel and Boston Properties’ Flex. Landlords who are remaining or returning to the traditional commercial office space are facing increased demand for amenities like sleek lobbies, tech services, etc. To meet these demands and gain a competitive edge, landlords are opening up to fintech/insurtech solutions like replacing security deposits with surety bonds to make tenants lives easier.” — Julien Bonneville, CEO of The Guarantors

Technology will continue to disrupt the industry.

“Technology disruption of the real estate industry driven by Silicon Valley and institutional investors will reach a point where it’ll threaten the traditional real estate industry. Technological innovation is here and rapidly advancing in the real estate industry and preparing for disruption. iBuying, blockchain, artificial intelligence and machine learning are changing the ways buyers, sellers and investors interact with each other and the properties they are interested in.” — Spitz

The Moral of the Story

All in all, housing is set for a slow-down next year, but as Kapfidze explained, that’s not necessarily a bad thing.

“The medium and long-term prospects for housing are good because demographics are going to continue to support demand,” he said. “With a slower price appreciation, incomes have an opportunity to catch up. With slower sales, inventory has an opportunity to normalize. A slowdown in 2019 creates a healthier housing market going forward.”

Originally published here.

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How To Simply Increase Your Family Wealth By Paying For Housing

Wealth at Home | SC Homes Blog

Everyone should realize that unless you are living somewhere rent-free, you are paying a mortgage – either yours or your landlord’s. Buying your own home provides you with a form of ‘forced savings’ that allows you to use your monthly housing costs to increase your family’s wealth.

Every month that you pay your mortgage, you are paying off a portion of the debt that you took on to purchase your home. Therefore, you own a little bit more of your home every month in the form of home equity. As your home’s value increases you also gain home equity.

Every quarter, Pulsenomicssurveys a nationwide panel of over 100 economists, real estate experts, and investment and market strategists and asks them to project how residential home prices will appreciate over the next five years for their Home Price Expectation Survey (HPES).

The latest data from their Q4 2018 Surveyrevealed that home prices are expected to round out the year 5.8% higher than they were in January. For the next 5 years, home values will appreciate by an average of nearly 3% a year.

This is still great news for homeowners!

For example, let’s assume a young couple purchases and closes on a $250,000 home in January. Simply through their home appreciating in value, those homeowners can build their home equity by nearly $40,000 over the next five years.

How to Simply Increase Your Family Wealth by Paying for Housing | Keeping Current Matters

Let’s look at the potential equity gained over the same period of time at some higher price points:

How to Simply Increase Your Family Wealth by Paying for Housing | Keeping Current Matters

In many cases, home equity is a large portion of a family’s overall net worth.

Bottom Line

If your plan for 2019 includes entering the housing market to purchase a home, whether it’s your first or your fifth, meet with a local real estate professional who can help you understand where prices are headed in your area.

Originally published here.

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